September 10, 2014
We are always trying to expand the garden. As I blogged about earlier, we collect a lot of cardboard from the local elementary school every year and lengthen the garden. We typically do this in the fall so the areas can be covered with manure and will be ready to be planted in the spring.
This year, I did this with three spaces. Before we started doing a Back to Eden garden, we had to use tarp to keep the grass away from the blueberry bushes. So, in order to expand, I typically have to:
- Rake back six or so inches of decomposing mulch (NOT light and fluffy as ‘fresh’ mulch would be)
- Cut away 2-3 layers of tarp with scissors
- Cut away 1-2 layers of weed cloth
- Cover with mulch that was raked away
- Put down some compost
The strawberry plants have put out a TON of runners over the summer…into the tarp covered with mulch (not going to grow well). So, after expanding the skinny strawberry patch, I planted some runners.
The bunch to the left is what I planted this spring. The spaced out ones are the runners I planted.This is halfway. I filled up the whole area with runners by the end of the morning.
I also planted some celery stumps that have been growing indoors. We’ll see how everything does.Lastly, I expanded the other strawberry patch. When cutting away the tarps, I saw two blueberry shoots. I just left them alone. I am going to let them come up on their own. We’ll just have a blueberry bush amongst the strawberries 🙂 I covered the strawberry patch with chicken compost and am letting it sit this winter. I have not decided if I am going to plant anything in that space or not. I am leaning toward letting the strawberries expand on their own and filling in the gaps with more runners next year.
How did I get all of this compost? I cleaned out the coop, of course. I clean out the coop a number of times each year but I have never cleaned it out this much. Since the chickens are not laying 😦 my husband took out the nesting boxes and I was able to COMPLETELY clean out the coop. The only thing I did not do was wash it out. I do not see that ever happening. It was hard work and I am glad it is done! The coop is now nice and clean and three patches are ready to sit all winter in their compost blanket, enjoying compost tea every time it rains.
As soon as we get back from vacation, I need to go to the local horse stables and cover the rest of the areas that will sit through the winter. I also have more fall crops to plant and I have over 200 bulbs that are being mailed to me in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I can get it all done before winter!
Who wants to come lend a hand?! You can just hold the baby while I work — that would be a help too! 😀